Prior to defending their dissertation proposals and beginning dissertation research, doctoral students must demonstrate their ability to:
- Create collaborative learning communities which reflect sensitivity to the ethical and moral obligations of leaders to design and implement programs that promote positive learning for all.
- Create and sustain a powerful vision of teaching and learning that promotes individual and organizational learning through assessment, professional development, program evaluation, and action research.
- Demonstrate an appreciation for diversity by creating a culture of success that is connected to salient historical, philosophical, cultural, community, and political contexts.
- Use technology to support and advance learning, improve communication, and process information.
- Research, collect, analyze, and interpret data that informs the change process; evaluate research critically; apply research to determine best practice; and provide leadership for research that improves teaching and learning.
The program tracksstudents by five progress points: course completion, Leadership Portfolio, proposal defense, dissertation defense, and dissemination activities. All five outcomes are assessed as part of the Leadership Portfolio assessment task which students complete and defend at the conclusion of major coursework. The Portfolio serves as a “qualifying” examination for the dissertation, and requires students to demonstrate learning achievements in both academic and applied leadership contexts.
Students prepare their Leadership Portfolio using a browser-based CD tool provided by the program. At least two artifacts (one from courses and one that demonstrates learning applied to leadership in a school or school district) and an analytic essay are required to document learning related to each of the seven doctoral propositions. When the major advisor approves the portfolio, an oral presentation and defense is scheduled before a three-person committee consisting of the advisor, the program director, and an appropriately credentialed practitioner or a third member of the doctoral faculty.
While students work on their dissertations, they enroll in a dissemination seminar, EDL 720, during which they develop a plan to bring their dissertation research to the attention of the both academic and practitioner communities. After the dissertation defense, they execute the plan and submit a report that includes artifacts for documenting dissemination to scholarly and practitioner communities.